The area I was raised in, in Minnesota, is known as the Iron Range. The landscape had been decimated for 6 decades of open pit iron mining. Most of the work was done by European immigrants; clusters of Italians, Serbs, Swedes, Germans, Croatians.... all came, worked hard, kept their European customs. Blended into a generation like mine that had roots in two or three different European cultures.
The mines closed in the 80's when the steel industry failed.
The land went back to rural, a little touristy, some quiet lake living, fishing, hunting.
My brother, Denise and I went back to visit both sides of our family. Yes, to see my parents' graves, which I had not seen in two decades. To pass by the old school, the old homestead. On my mom's side, the visit was quiet. We stopped to see her sister, who is in a nursing home. She was well cared for, and I know she appreciated the visit. Another aunt and cousins on that side were not home as we stopped with short notice. On my dad's side, we went to my uncle's house, where one other member of his generation, my Auntie Kay, she of the amazing Italian food, joined us. And us cousins. Olders now, two daughters of the next generation stopped by, but we got together, members of three sons and one daughter's contributions to the family. It was a great day, full of jokes and reminiscing. Cousin Tom got away before we took family pictures, but here they are.
Greenway High School, Coleraine, Minnesota
My dad built this house, Pengilly, MN. Such great memories.
All of the cousins that showed up, except for Tom, May 2010.
The whole gang with Auntie Kay and Uncle Virge